Ohanaeze: Too shameful to be true

By Sunny Igboanugo on 02/10/2015

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President of Ohanaeze, Gary-Enwo-Igariwey

Where is the Igbo man? Tears have filled my eyes. Ife emebie! How could things become so bad with my people? Is nobody at home? Is this what we have become? Lamentation, weeping, grinding of teeth. I can hardly put my thoughts together. Because nothing is together anymore. I remember you today. Amuma na egbe igwe. Dike di ora mma Ndigbo. Dike a n’akpa ogwu n’anya. I remember you Ezeigbo gburugburu. I remember you, Ikemba Nnewi. I remember you, The Lion.

This is the time you would have roared and even the air will be stilled in obeisance. Those bulging, rolling and red eyeballs, would have been sufficient more than a thousand words. The message would have been clear. You are not a conquered people. Nobody can conquer your spirit, it would say.

Where are you Ugo belu n’enu oji? You would have captured this in very damning terms. You would have put the knife directly to the centre of the boil, to release the pus and free the sufferers, your people from this piercing pain and cool the sweltering fever. Was that not what you did to quieten the madness in your home Anambra when you cried out and the whole world heard you? Your language was as fiery, as it was elegant. But the impact couldn’t have been stouter.

They had thought that you were for sale. But you shook off their hate-filled cap, with which they had wanted to imprison your pristine soul. These were your words: “I write this letter with a very heavy heart. For some time now I have watched events in Nigeria with alarm and dismay. I have watched particularly the chaos in my own state of Anambra where a small clique of renegades, openly boasting its connections in high places, seems determined to turn my homeland into a bankrupt and lawless fiefdom.  I am appalled by the brazenness of this clique and the silence, if not connivance, of the Presidency.

“Forty three years ago, at the first anniversary of Nigeria's independence I was given the first Nigerian National Trophy for Literature. In 1979, I received two further honors – the Nigerian National Order of Merit and the Order of the Federal Republic – and in 1999 the first National Creativity Award.

“I accepted all these honors fully aware that Nigeria was not perfect; but I had a strong belief that we would outgrow our shortcomings under leaders committed to uniting our diverse peoples.  Nigeria's condition today under your watch is, however, too dangerous for silence. I must register my disappointment and protest by declining to accept the high honor awarded me in the 2004 Honors List”.

Like a thunderbolt, they were stupefied, because it hit them where it hurt the most; because you denied them the joy of seeing another one bite the dust. Yes, they tried to fend it off with some infantile and obtuse reasoning. But even their wolfish countenance and sheepish smiles betrayed their discomfiture. You put them where they belonged – the dark and murky waters of humanity – the gloomy side of history. They must have tumbled endlessly in their cosy beds, having been denied the ease and contentment of conquest. Yes you did it. You took the sigh of satisfaction from their mouth.

 

Ndigbo

In their restlessness, they tried again. But you were unrelenting. As constant as the Northern Star. Like the Rock of Gibraltar. “The reasons for rejecting the offer when it was first made have not been addressed let alone solved. It is inappropriate to offer it again to me.” That simply put paid to further attempts. That was before you bowed out, but not before admonishing on what to do at times like this. Your last epic There Was A Country said it all. Is it that we are too deaf to hear or that our memories have become too short to blight out these things? Do we need a thousand words to learn? You even stressed the point. The only issue in which every Nigerian will agree on is how to deal with the Igbo man, you once wrote. Have words lost their meanings so suddenly?

Chei! Ariri egbue m. Rise Dee Sam. Where is your spirit? Oke erie azu onye mu anya. Where is the spirit of Chukwumerije? The life-force with which we dared and wrestled the spirits across the seven rivers and distant lands. Don’t keep us waiting. Rise the spirit of our proud grandsires. Take your place in the hearts of your children. Whisper to their ears. Teach them. Let them understand. This is the dance of the spirits that requires a lot of learning. Yes. No one does the surugede dance with a pinch of snuff in his palms.

Rise! Before you sons are transformed into pale, trembling cowards. Yes, we are gradually losing our balls, hiding behind the peteri of our women. Shall we like the crab, which swam across the mighty ocean, fall shamefully in the woman’s soup pot? Chukwu aju! Tufia kwa!

Years ago they thought that they had thrown us into a bottomless pit from which we shall never rise again. But we rose. We shook off the ashes. We not only repaired what they destroyed but built new ones. Yes, we restored our land. We even did it beyond our shores and showed them how it is done. Now, shall we hand them the happiness we denied them in those years of the locust when we never allowed them fetter our spirits?

Were we part of their partying and merriment when we built our own airports, refined our oil, made our own cars, built our weapons and almost created a modern society to the amazement of the world? Did we need appointments to rise above 20 pounds to create financial empires? Was appointments there when in spite of their buying everything when we were still climbing out of our wrecked homes, we have virtually become proud owners of large scale manufacturing concerns and blue chip companies that dot the landspace from the North to the South poles? Did appointment make our land the place where fresh, mint and brand new cars have begun to roll out of factories today, made by our own hands, our own sons and daughters? Did appointments create Aba, Nnewi and Onitsha? No Sir. It is our spirit, our courage, our ability to dare where others tremble.

What then is appointment that our people will no longer celebrate their heroes and mourn the dead? What is this thing Ohanaeze has done? Are we just realising that like Jonah, we’ve been inside the smelly, foggy and slimy belly of the fish for a long time and are struggling to get out? Is it now that we have breathed the refreshing air of freedom that we begin to mourn like people without faith?

Yes. They may attempt to put us in a glass cage, from where they believe we shall watch them make merry. But we can transform that cage to a kaleidoscope that will be so attractive to ignore.

What then is Sober Reflection? Such expression is not music to our ears. Yes, we shall reflect. But not in a manner that will make our enemies laugh at us.

We shall reflect on how to build more industries, repair our roads ourselves, build bridges, create massive farmlands with modern equipment, create thriving commerce and robust and boundless economy, build beautiful cities. We shall reflect on how to feed ourselves, educate our children, care for the sick, create wealth by the work of our hands, eradicate evil in our society, and live happily. We shall even share what we have with them. Yes, we shall wish them no ill, believing that one day they shall realise the wisdom in the saying that if you pin a man to the ground, you have equally pinned yourself.

September 29 is our day. It is a day the essence of the Igbo man is laid bare. It is a day of inspiration. We must therefore celebrate like Ndigbo. The Ikolo must sound. The drums must be rolled out. Yes with Ijele, Izaga, Ulaga, Akwunache enyi. They must be called out. We must eat meat and drink palm wine.

Let it never be heard that another September 29 will be designated a day of sober reflection. That is defeatism which we never accepted before now. Self-pity is the least therapy for Ndigbo now. It is worthless because it will neither attract sympathy nor change anything. Oze emezi na!        

 

Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on October, 2 2015

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